You might think your shoe is doing more to control motion of your foot than it is actually doing.

You might think your shoe is doing more to control motion of your foot than it is actually doing.

"The measurement of rearfoot kinematics by placing reflective markers on the shoe heel assumes its motion is identical to the foot’s motion."
The results of this study revealed that "calcaneal frontal plane ROM was significantly greater than neutral and support shoe heel ROM. Calcaneus ROM was also significantly greater than shoe heel ROM in the transverse and sagittal planes. No change in tibial transverse plane ROM was observed."

It is easy to underestimate the calcaneal ROM across all planes of motion. Motion is going to occur somewhere, hopefully you can help your client control the excessive ROMs that are occurring and causing their symptoms. But just do not think that a shoe is going to markedly help, it might, but let your interventions and your client's feedback on pain lead you.

Calcaneus range of motion underestimated by markers on running shoe heel.
Ryan S. Alcantara'Correspondence information about the author Ryan S. AlcantaraEmail the author Ryan S. Alcantara
, Matthieu B. Trudeau, Eric S. Rohr
Human Performance Laboratory, Brooks Running Company, 3400 Stone Way N, Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98103 United States

You might think your shoe is doing more to control motion of your foot than it is actually doing.

You might think your shoe is doing more to control motion of your foot than it is actually doing.

"The measurement of rearfoot kinematics by placing reflective markers on the shoe heel assumes its motion is identical to the foot’s motion."
The results of this study revealed that "calcaneal frontal plane ROM was significantly greater than neutral and support shoe heel ROM. Calcaneus ROM was also significantly greater than shoe heel ROM in the transverse and sagittal planes. No change in tibial transverse plane ROM was observed."

It is easy to underestimate the calcaneal ROM across all planes of motion. Motion is going to occur somewhere, hopefully you can help your client control the excessive ROMs that are occurring and causing their symptoms. But just do not think that a shoe is going to markedly help, it might, but let your interventions and your client's feedback on pain lead you.

Calcaneus range of motion underestimated by markers on running shoe heel.
Ryan S. Alcantara'Correspondence information about the author Ryan S. AlcantaraEmail the author Ryan S. Alcantara
, Matthieu B. Trudeau, Eric S. Rohr
Human Performance Laboratory, Brooks Running Company, 3400 Stone Way N, Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98103 United States

"Four puckered anuses and a heel strike."

So you say you do "gait analysis" and "movement screens" huh ?
If you glaze past this post, well, that would be sad to us, we put a lot of time into sharing what we feel are important (and not necessarily right) thought experiments and thoughts.

In our opinion, and this upsets some folks, screens do not tell you much of anything beyond how someone is moving. They do not tell you why they are moving that way. They do not tell you what is wrong, or right, about a person's body or why they move, or why they screen the way they do. We could even put up a darn good debate of why they could be a waste of time, when uncoupled with a clinical examination.

Screen Shot 2019-02-22 at 7.40.36 PM.png

Much like the excessive wear on this left heel (see photo) it merely tells you that the person is, FOR SOME REASON, impacting/scuffing that heel too much. It too does not tell you why they are moving that way. (The shoe case explained in a moment).

Giving someone a "corrective homework exercise or stretch" or new movement because you "think" they are failing a screening procedure is nothing more than confirmation bias on your existing knowledge base (which for ALL of us is limited, yet hopefully expanding). Your confirmation bias might be, "I know what this screen should look like, I know what my gurus have told me it should tell me, and this client just failed the screen, so here is what you need to do to make the screen look and test better and here is what will make the client "better" (whatever that is)."

It just cannot, and is not, that simple.

Similarly, it would be like telling this person not to heel strike so hard, "Stop heel striking, stop scuffing your heel !". It is just not that simple and it is foolish to think so. We need to get to the bottom of the problem, the root cause. This means we need to hands-on examine our client, and correlate said findings to the screens. Collectively, we are just gathering information to put together a cause effect for any of our patient's problems. But you cannot just make assumptions that stroke your confirmation bias. There is logical process in place, for a good reason.

Now, why is this guy scuffing his left heel? He has no left heel pain, no left leg pain, clean foot, ankle and hip mechanics on that left side (from detailed coupled screens correlated with a detailed hands on exam including neuromuscular strength, length, skill, length-tension relationships, endurance assessments etc).

And if you think we are not guilty or above all of these mistakes we are calling out, you are mistaken. WE are on the same bus as everyone else. WE are human, we have biases, so we have to check them everyday. Just the other day I told a patient he wasn't getting better because i made and assumption based off of what i saw in his gait, and i assumed he wasn't going to fail my hop test, that it was a different problem, so i looked elsewhere, found something that confirmed my bias, and they came back 2 weeks later saying "i did my homework, i am no better." I took them into the hallway, had them go through my hop screen, and damn if i wasn't ashamed of myself, i followed with some hands on exam, and dang if I wasn't a confirmed moron. So, we screw up too, more than we like to. Some people will say "that is why we call it a medical practice". That is a soft let down. Sure, it happens, but laziness and confirmation bias happens way more often in all of us we believe.

Look at the cartoon below, the parents think the kid loves the animal mobile. From their perspective, from their limited experience lying under an animal mobile, how could they know the kid was smiling because he/she was looking up at 4 anuses? Four puckered anuses (yes, the plural is not ani. We had to look it up, too !). Go ahead, laugh, we did.
*And so, if you do make corrective exercise recommendations off of a screen, without clinical hands-on exam correlation, may your kids paint animal anuses on your bedroom ceiling to remind you of their tortured infant years.
Perspective, like this infant here staring at buttholes of stuffed animals, is amazing. It is all too often how you approach things, and with the limited (or expansive) knowledge and experience you approach it with, as to what confirmation biases you lay on things, and how you go about solving things.

*Oh, as promised, this dude in the shoes, has markedly weak RIGHT hip abductors and RIGHT lateral core (from our hands on exam and then specific loaded screens to assess and help confirm these things). This means, right lateral pelvis drift. This confirmed the visual drop of the left hemipelvis during swing phase, which allowed the left foot to have challenged clearance (he could hear the heel scuff when walking). Yes, slight left cross over gait too. The corrective exercise is to improve the right hip and lateral core stability, and establish gait awareness homework to learn how to reengage those areas. The corrective exercises were not to force more LEFT hip flexion and knee flexion to gain more clearance and stop the heel scuff. A monkey could figure that out. But that would seem logical if no examination had been done.

PS: There is no need to check his pelvic floor (see infant mobile cartoon above to extrapolate that joke). But, if you made assumptions of what homework to give him based only off of a bunch of screens, heck, you might as well check his sphincter. What do you have to lose?

WE would LOVE, love love love to give credit to whoever drew this cartoon. There is no name on it, we NEED to give them credit. It is more than brilliant. IT is an entire lecture on perspective. Send us this genius person's contact if you know who it was ! Please !!!!!!

Shawn Allen, the other gait guy

#gait, #gaitproblems, #gaitanalysis, #movementscreens, #correctiveexercises, #thegaitguys, #heelstrike

Podcast #140: Running, hallux amputation, building deeper gait concepts.

Topics:

hallux amputation, achilles tendon, achilles tendinopathy, rehab achilles, bursae, marathons, vapourfly, shoes, shoe fit, gait, gait problems, gait correction, gait retraining, running, foot strike, heel strike, midfoot strike, rearfoot strike, heel strike, loading responses, gait rehab, muscle strength, isotonics

Links to find the podcast:

Look for us on iTunes, Google Play, Podbean, PlayerFM and more.

Just Google "the gait guys podcast".

Our Websites:
www.thegaitguys.com

doctorallen.co

summitchiroandrehab.com

shawnallen.net

Our website is all you need to remember. Everything you want, need and wish for is right there on the site.
Interested in our stuff ? Want to buy some of our lectures or our National Shoe Fit program? Click here (thegaitguys.com or thegaitguys.tumblr.com) and you will come to our websites. In the tabs, you will find tabs for STORE, SEMINARS, BOOK etc. We also lecture every 3rd Wednesday of the month on onlineCE.com. We have an extensive catalogued library of our courses there, you can take them any time for a nominal fee (~$20).

Our podcast is on iTunes and just about every other podcast harbor site, just google "the gait guys podcast", you will find us.

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Libsyn Directory URL:http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/7135745


Topics and links:


The tendinopathic Achilles tendon does not remain iso-volumetric upon repeated loading: insights from 3D ultrasound. Nuri L, et al. J Exp Biol. 2017.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/28620014/

Good tip to decrease loading and help decrease injury risk in runners: See study by Chan et al.:
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0363546517736277?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed&

Vapourfly shoe
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/07/18/upshot/nike-vaporfly-shoe-strava.html

Men’s marathon:
https://twitter.com/chrisbramah/status/1019481750039343104/photo/1


fun facts:

Foot strike patterns of the World Championships Marathon:
Women’s race:
73% rearfoot, 24% midfoot, 3% forefoot
Men’s race:
67% rearfoot, 30% midfoot, 3% forefoot
pic.twitter.com/iWRzjImQBZ
https://www.iaaf.org/about-iaaf/documents/research#biomechanical-research-projects

Foot structure and stiffness is critical
https://www.nature.com/articles/srep29870

Tendons can change
Progressive calf strength training led to increased achilles stiffness @ 4 weeks & increased tendon cross sectional area @ 8 weeks
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-018-3904-1

Bursae can thicken painlessly as a normal adaption to activity... just like skin calluses!
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24907190

Between 63-72% of participants were wearing incorrectly sized footwear. review of the literature here from @LTPodiatry team:
https://jfootankleres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13047-018-0284-z

How Neuroscientists Explain the Mind-Clearing Magic of Running -- from the Science of Us
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/science-of-us/how-neuroscientists-expla_b_9787466.html

Medieval "Turn Shoes": How we used to walk.

In the 1500's in Western Europe, shoes were different. People wore “turn shoes”, leather shoes that were made inside out then reversed for wear. This was likely the beginning of the use of molds to make shoes, carpenters up until the twentieth century would carve a wooden foot model of various sizes to model the process and standardize it.

These "Turn Shoes" were replaced by shoes with a frame construction as shoes changed to adapt to different environments, as streets changed.

The Turn shoes were basically a slip on or lace up thick leather sock. Thus, they were zero drop, soft, and provided much "feel" for the ground. Proprioception was obviously well appreciated.

We have spoken about the difference between heel strike and heel contact in walking. One can safely heel strike if barefoot on soft grass, but one cannot on the hard concrete or asphalt that we have covered much of our world with. Thus, if one were to wear "turn shoes" in our modern era, one would be forced to adapt to a heel contact or "heel kiss" on the ground, meaning, a more predominant forefoot loading style as described in this video.

What he describes, is largely not a choice, it was because they were in soft thin leather sock all day long, and even on wood or hard dirt packed floors and cart paths all day long, the heels would want some reprieve from heel "strike".

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 10.45.45 AM.png

Another way around this, to reduce heel strike, is to do it more naturally, by shortening the step and stride lengths a little, by keeping the body mass over the foot strike. "Chi Running" and "Chi walking" are based off of this principle. By moving the body mass forward with the foot, one has to naturally reduce heel strike. If one lags the body mass behind the foot however, the foot moves out in front, and heel strike begins to naturally (or shall we say, unnaturally) out in front, more heavily. This is not exactly desirable, for many reason.  Yet, since most of our shoes have some form of heel lift (a heel to forefoot drop), particular dress shoes (yes, even men's dress shoes, see photo), and even many modern day running shoes, the heel is essentially made more prominent (the heel rise essentially makes the brain think our heel (calcaneus) that much longer. This makes it easier, yet undesirable, to heel "strike" first. Oh what we have done for fashion !

He gets a few things wrong in the video, in terms of "ease" of walking, but largely it is decently done. One has to be careful if they perch the foot out in front like he does in the slower demonstration, in a plantarflexed ankle and foot, one can easily begin to lock up the knees. We often see this in teenagers in flip-flops.

-Shawn and Ivo, the gait guys

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Impact matters: How you put your foot on the ground matters.

Impact matters. For years Ivo and I have been telling our clients this obvious fact. Over and over we hear the heavy heel strike of our barefoot clients on the floors of our office. We are constantly drawing their attention to this unnecessary impact load.  They hear it, feel it, and make immediate notable changes and realize that they are a big part of their own problem.  (Recently, an onslaught of Sever's "disease" cases have been coming into our office and the parents confirm a herd of elephants live on the upper floors of their homes, if you catch our drift. Impact matters.  Kids with heel growth plate issues should not be pounding their heels into the floors.)  We like to say, the heel can touch down first, that is ok, it is normal in walking gait, just please "kiss the floor" with the heel instead of driving nails.  But, to be fair, all those high heel EVA foam cushioned shoes have brought us to where we are, and minimalism is trending us out -- a little.  

Here in this study, they "aimed to determine if a quantifiable relationship exists between the peak sound amplitude and peak vertical ground reaction force (vGRF) and vertical loading rate during running."

They used the same queuing in the study that we use in our offices, participants were verbally instructed to run quietly compared to their normal running. What is interesting is that "simple linear regressions revealed no significant relationships between impact sound and peak vGRF in the normal and quiet conditions and vertical loading rate in the normal condition." But, read carefully. There is a subtlety in this study, there were changes when the runners were queued to run more quietly, consciously.  This was different compared to those who just unconsciously ran quieter. 

"During the normal running condition, 15.4% of participants utilized a non-rearfoot strike technique compared to 76.9% in the quiet condition, which was corroborated by an increased ankle plantarflexion angle at initial contact. "

"This study demonstrated that quieter impact sound is not directly associated with a lower peak vGRF or vertical loading rate. However, given the instructions to run quietly, participants effectively reduced peak impact sound, peak vGRF and vertical loading rate."

J Sports Sci. 2016 Sep 3:1-7. [Epub ahead of print]

Running quietly reduces ground reaction force and vertical loading rate and alters foot strike technique.

Phan X1,2, Grisbrook TL1, Wernli K1,3, Stearne SM1, Davey P1, Ng L1.

Forefoot strike running: Do you have enough calf muscle endurance to do it without a cost ?

Below you will find an article on footwear and running. Rice et al concluded that 

“ When running in a standard shoe, peak resultant and component instantaneous loadrates were similar between footstrike patterns. However, loadrates were lower when running in minimal shoes with a FFS (forefoot strike), compared with running in standard shoes with either foot strike. Therefore, it appears that footwear alters the loadrates during running, even with similar foot strike patterns.

They concluded that footwear alters the load rates during running. No brain surgery here. But that is not the point I want to discuss today. Foot strike matters. Shoes matter. And pairing the foot type and your strike patterns of mental choice, or out of natural choice, is critical. For example, you are not likely (hopefully) to choose a HOKA shoe if you are a forefoot striker. The problem is, novice runners are not likely to have a clue about this, especially if they are fashonistas about their reasoning behind shoe purchases. Most serious runners do not care about the look/color of the shoe. This is serious business to them and they know it is just a 2-3 months in the shoe, depending on their mileage. But, pairing the foot type, foot strike pattern and shoe anatomy is a bit of a science and an art. I will just mention our National Shoe Fit Certification program here if you want to get deeper into that science and art. (Beware, this is not a course for the feint of heart.)

However, I just wanted to approach a theoretical topic today, playing off of the “Forefoot strike” methodology mentioned in the article today.  I see this often in my practice, I know Ivo does as well. The issue can be one of insufficient endurance and top end strength (top end ankle plantar flexion) of the posterior mechanism, the gastrocsoleus-achilles complex. If your calf complex starts to fatigue and you are forefoot striker, the heel will begin to drop, and sometimes abruptly right after forefoot load. The posterior compartment is a great spring loading mechanism and can be used effectively in many runners, the question is, if you fatigue your’s beyond what is safe and effective are you going to pay a price ? This heel drop can put a sudden unexpected and possibly excessive load into the posterior compartment and achilles. This act will move you into more relative dorsiflexion, this will also likely start abrupt loading the calf-achilles eccentrically. IF you have not trained this compartment for eccentric loads, your achilles may begin to call you out angrily. Can you control the heel decent sufficiently to use the stored energy efficiently and effectively? Or will you be a casualty?  This drop if uncontrolled or excessive may also start to cause some heel counter slippage at the back of the shoe, friction is never a good thing between skin and shoe. This may cause some insertional tendonitis or achilles proper hypertrophy or adaptive thickening. This may cause some knee extension when the knee should not be extending. This may cause some pelvis drop, a lateral foot weight bear shift and supination tendencies, some patellofemoral compression, anterior meniscofemoral compression/impingement, altered arm swing etc.  You catch my drift. Simply put, an endurance challenged posterior compartment, one that may not express its problem until the latter miles, is something to be aware of. 

Imagine being a forefoot striker and 6 miles into a run your calf starts to fatigue. That forefoot strike now becomes a potential liability. We like, when possible, a mid foot strike. This avoids heel strike, avoids the problems above, and is still a highly effective running strike pattern. Think about this, if you are a forefoot striker and yet you still feel your heel touch down each step after the forefoot load, you may be experiencing some of the things I mentioned above on a low level. And, you momentarily moved backwards when you are trying to run forwards. Why not just make a subtle change towards mid foot strike, when that heel touches down after your forefoot strike, you are essentially there anyways. Think about it.

Shawn Allen, one of The Gait Guys

Footwear Matters: Influence of Footwear and Foot Strike on Loadrates During Running. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
Rice, Hannah M.; Jamison, Steve T.; Davis, Irene S.

http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Abstract/publishahead/Footwear_Matters___Influence_of_Footwear_and_Foot.97456.aspx

Do you have enough in the anterior tank ? Dr. Allen’s quiz question and lesson of the week.  One of my favorite sayings to my clients, “Do you have enough anterior strength to achieve and maintain posterior length?”    Translation, do you have enough anterior lower leg compartment strength (tibialis anterior, long toe extensor muscle group, peroneus tertius)  to achieve sufficient ankle dorsiflexion  in order to achieve posterior compartment length (gastric, soleus, tibialis posterior, long toe flexor muscle) ?  You see, you can either regularly stretch the calf-achilles complex or you can achieve great anterior compartment strength, to drive sufficient ankle dorsiflexion, in effect EARNING the posterior compartment length. This is a grounded principle in our offices. It is the premise of the  Shuffle Walk exercise (link)  and many others we implement in restoring someones biomechanics.   Now on to today’s quiz question.   In this photo, both people are just mere moments before heel strike.   1. Who is gonna need to have more eccentric strength in the anterior compartment ? And what if they don’t have it ? Repercussions ?    2. Who is toeing off the lateral forefoot ?   3. Who is crossing over more and thus could have more gluteus medius weakness ?  A picture is worth a thousand words. Answers and dialogue below.   .  .  .  .  .  .  1. The lady in the high heeled shoes. If she heel strikes first, the larger longer heel on her shoe will mean she will need more of a prolonged eccentric loading of the anterior compartment to lower the forefoot to the ground. I hope she shortens her strike so she can get close to mid foot strike, it will negate most of this issue.  Repercussions? Forefoot pain, clenching/hammering of her toes from use of the long flexors to dampen loading of the metatarsal heads, and even possibly anterior shin splint like pain.  2. The lady is clearly in more lateral toe off, this is from the intoe’ing we see. This is low gear toe off. She may have limb torsion, internal tibial torsion to be specific, or insufficent external hip rotation control as a possibility. There are several possibilities here.  3. Hard to say, but the man seems to be crossing over more.  There is also no arm swing, hands are in the pockets, this is a big hit to gait economy. We have discussed these numbers in previous blog posts, the numbers are significant and real.  Step width is also a real factor, reduced step width leads to joint stacking challenges and is found with weaker hip abductors and changes in the iliotibial band length.  A picture can be worth a thousand words. I am a few short of the mark today, but I wanted to keep it short.  Dr. Shawn Allen, one of the gait guys

Do you have enough in the anterior tank ? Dr. Allen’s quiz question and lesson of the week.

One of my favorite sayings to my clients, “Do you have enough anterior strength to achieve and maintain posterior length?”  

Translation, do you have enough anterior lower leg compartment strength (tibialis anterior, long toe extensor muscle group, peroneus tertius) to achieve sufficient ankle dorsiflexion in order to achieve posterior compartment length (gastric, soleus, tibialis posterior, long toe flexor muscle) ?  You see, you can either regularly stretch the calf-achilles complex or you can achieve great anterior compartment strength, to drive sufficient ankle dorsiflexion, in effect EARNING the posterior compartment length. This is a grounded principle in our offices. It is the premise of the Shuffle Walk exercise (link) and many others we implement in restoring someones biomechanics.

Now on to today’s quiz question.

In this photo, both people are just mere moments before heel strike. 

1. Who is gonna need to have more eccentric strength in the anterior compartment ? And what if they don’t have it ? Repercussions ?  

2. Who is toeing off the lateral forefoot ? 

3. Who is crossing over more and thus could have more gluteus medius weakness ?

A picture is worth a thousand words. Answers and dialogue below.

.

.

.

.

.

.

1. The lady in the high heeled shoes. If she heel strikes first, the larger longer heel on her shoe will mean she will need more of a prolonged eccentric loading of the anterior compartment to lower the forefoot to the ground. I hope she shortens her strike so she can get close to mid foot strike, it will negate most of this issue.  Repercussions? Forefoot pain, clenching/hammering of her toes from use of the long flexors to dampen loading of the metatarsal heads, and even possibly anterior shin splint like pain.

2. The lady is clearly in more lateral toe off, this is from the intoe’ing we see. This is low gear toe off. She may have limb torsion, internal tibial torsion to be specific, or insufficent external hip rotation control as a possibility. There are several possibilities here.

3. Hard to say, but the man seems to be crossing over more.

There is also no arm swing, hands are in the pockets, this is a big hit to gait economy. We have discussed these numbers in previous blog posts, the numbers are significant and real.  Step width is also a real factor, reduced step width leads to joint stacking challenges and is found with weaker hip abductors and changes in the iliotibial band length.

A picture can be worth a thousand words. I am a few short of the mark today, but I wanted to keep it short.

Dr. Shawn Allen, one of the gait guys

This is apparently a growing thing, INTERVAL walking. Oy. We are not particular fans at this point, nothing exciting or earth shattering at this point (other than the concerns we hi light below) but we will look into it more.
What you need to see, and be aware of, is that this is what happens when you wear a shoe that has too soft a rear foot. At heel strike, instead of progressing forward into the mid and forefoot, the rear foot of the shoe deforms and forces you into more HEEL rocker, sustained heel rocker. If you stay in heel rocker too long, you won’t progress forward into ANKLE rocker (ankle dorsiflexion). This often causes knee hyperextension. If you have a good trained eye, you will see both of these things, prolonged heel rocker and never any ankle rocker/ankle dorsiflexion. IT is like the ankle in this video is frozen at 90 degrees the entire time, train your eye to see this absense of ankle rocker. This will cause premature heel rise and premature posterior compartment contraction which can cause premature forefoot loading. This is what happens when the heel of the shoe is too soft. A perfect example of “more cushion” is not always better. IT can be a liability as well. Remember the angry revolution over the MBT shoe and its mushy rear foot?. Same principle, same risks and concerns. Welcome to round two of the same old problems ????? Maybe. you decide. To be clear, this is a comment on the shoes being used, the technique is , well, perhaps interesting. That is all we are willing to comment on at this point until we look into it more. Look at the heel and ankle mechanics during the slow mo clips.
Sorry Ben Greenfield. We are not impressed, as of yet. We like your podcast Ben, you are doing us all a great service, but this one is promoting some potential problems that people need to know about.
Start with our “Shuffle Walk”. Google search it under the Gait Guys. That is a good start.

- Dr. Allen

Pod #100: Hill Running + Cortical Brain Changes in Injuries

Pod #100  Hill Running + Cortical Brain Brain Changes in Injuries, Plus leg length challenges, Sole vs Heel lifts, Varying your Running Surface, Frontal plane biomechanics, Baker Cyst and Popliteal Muscle problems and more !

Show Sponsors:  
topoathletic.com
rocktape.com

Other Gait Guys stuff

A. Podcast links:

direct download URL: http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegaitguys/pod_100f.mp3

permalink URL: http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/podcast-100-hill-running-cortical-brain-brain-changes-in-injuries


B. iTunes link:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gait-guys-podcast/id559864138
C. Gait Guys online /download store (National Shoe Fit Certification & more !)
http://store.payloadz.com/results/results.aspx?m=80204
D. other web based Gait Guys lectures:
Monthly lectures at : www.onlinece.com type in Dr. Waerlop or Dr. Allen, ”Biomechanics”

-Our Book: Pedographs and Gait Analysis and Clinical Case Studies
Electronic copies available here:

-Amazon/Kindle:
http://www.amazon.com/Pedographs-Gait-Analysis-Clinical-Studies-ebook/dp/B00AC18M3E

-Barnes and Noble / Nook Reader:
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-Hardcopy available from our publisher:
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Show Notes:

1 Cortical change in chronic low back pain

http://www.anatomy-physiotherapy.com/articles/other/nervous/1329-cortical-change-in-chronic-low-back-pain
-Chronic low back pain is characterised by a range of structural, functional and neurochemical changes within the brain. Functional changes in individuals with chronic low back pain are reflected in a cortical reorganization, altered cortical activity and altered cortical responsiveness.

2  Lifting weights can change the brain
http://www.techvibes.com/blog/lifting-weights-can-beneficially-change-structure-of-brain-2015-10-27

3  Importance of varying running surfaces
http://triathlon.competitor.com/2015/05/training/importance-varying-running-surfaces_100995

4  Emergence of postural patterns as a function of vision and translation frequency.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10322069
J Neurophysiol. 1999 May;81(5):2325-39.
Our results suggest that visual information was important to maintaining a fixed position of the head and trunk in space, whereas proprioceptive information was sufficient to produce stable coordinative patterns between the support surface and legs.     *The CNS organizes postural patterns in this balance task as a function of available sensory information, biomechanical constraints, and translation frequency.

5  Previous hamstring injury is associated with altered kinematics.
“Previously injured athletes demonstrated significantly reduced biceps femoris muscle activation ratios with respect to ipsilateral gluteus maximus, ipsilateral erector spinae, ipsilateral external oblique, and contralateral rectus femoris in the late swing phase. We also detected sagittal asymmetry in hip flexion, pelvic tilt, and medial rotation of the knee effectively putting the hamstrings in a lengthened position just before heel strike.”

The biomechanics of running in athletes with previous hamstring injury: A case-control study. C. Daly1, U. McCarthy Persson2, R. Twycross-Lewis1, R. C. Woledge1,† andD. Morrissey1,

Podcast 77: Gait analysis, Forefoot Running & more.

Plus, the 5 neurologic gait compensation expressions.

*Show sponsor: www.newbalancechicago.com

A. Link to our server: 

http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegaitguys/pod_77final.mp3

Direct Download: 

http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/podcast-77

B. iTunes link:

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C. Gait Guys online /download store (National Shoe Fit Certification and more !) :

http://store.payloadz.com/results/results.aspx?m=80204

D. other web based Gait Guys lectures:

www.onlinece.com   type in Dr. Waerlop or Dr. Allen,  ”Biomechanics”

______________

Today’s Show notes:

Google X acquires ‘tremor-canceling spoon’ startup
http://venturebeat.com/2014/09/10/google-x-acquires-tremor-canceling-spoon-startup/

The 5 expressions of neurologic gait decomposition,
Last week we did an online teleseminar … . .
An acoustic startle alters knee joint stiffness and neuromuscular control
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/sms.12315/abstract
Effectiveness of Off-the-Shelf, Extra-Depth Footwear in Reducing Foot Pain in Older People: A Randomized Controlled Trial
http://biomedgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/09/08/gerona.glu169.abstract
reader:
I really appreciate learning from you!! I have a bit of a loaded question that I will try to explain clearly to the best of my ability. About 2 years ago, I broke my left shin (hairline-fibula) in a MMA fight. After it healed, a few things have been happening that I assume are connected but can’t quite put my finger on. My ankle mobility on my left ankle is worse than my left. I seem to have permanent turf toe as well. My right glute, ham, and erector are hyperactive.
Additionally, many times when sprinting, pushing a sled, etc, my right quad will become fatigued much more than my left. I believe it’s because I’m not fully extending my left ankle, and relying on my right leg more. Whenever I squat or deadlift, I feel similar too. The right glute and erectors get much more of a “pump” than my left. With all of this, is there anything you would recommend? I truly appreciate it!! It is very frustrating. Thank you again!
Steppage gait ? Or just a runway model ?  Take the thinking farther.
Today we have a short blog post for you. You may take the topic simply on the surface or cogitate over it and find some deeper epiphanies from the well of knowledge we have tried to present here on our blog for the past 4+ years.  
It is clear that in this video that the model has a consciously driven steppage gait. Meaning, she is lifting her limb/foot via exaggerated hip flexion and knee flexion to clear the foot.  This is often seen unilaterally in a foot drop case where the client has a neurologic lesion that for one reason or another has impaired the client’s ability to extend the toes or dorsiflex the ankle sufficiently to clear the foot (so they do not drag toes and trip/fall).  
But, why is she doing this steppage gait ? It is highly unlikely that she has bilateral lesions.  Sure, she was asked to walk this way by her mentor but again, take it further.  Is there a factor making this gait necessary regardless of the coaching ? 
Obviously the answer is yes or we wouldn’t be doing a blog post on this topic.  She is wearing ridiculously high heels. This is forcing her into an extreme plantarflexed foot and ankle posture. IF she were to swing her leg normally during the swing phase she would drive the foot and ankle into dorsiflexion (a normal gait event) and the long pointed heel would be made more prominent as it was driven forward and downward. This would surely catch on the ground, immediately driving the foot into sudden violent forefoot loading and pitch her into a forward fall.  Yes, you have seen this on the run way videos on youtube, and yes we know you laughed too ! You see, when wearing heels this high, one must deploy a certain degree of steppage gait to clear the heel because ankle plantarflexion is fraught with the risk we just discussed above, the heel is too prominent and will catch. How much steppage (knee flexion and hip flexion to clear the foot) is necessary ? Well, to a large degree it depends on how much of a heel is present.  If you are wearing a small heeled shoe, lets say 1 inch, then a small steppage is necessary.
None the less, there is a bigger problem lurking and brewing underneath when heels are a regular occurrence. Slowly and gradually the disuse of the anterior compartment muscles (Extensor dig., Ext. hallucis, peroneus tertius, tibialis anterior) will weaken and the posterior compartment will shorten respectively. IF left too long, it will result in tightness (yes, there is a difference between tightness and shortness, one is a neurlogical protective mechanism, the other is a more permanent change.) We have said this many times here and in our videos, much of posterior compartment problems (ie achilles tendonitis, Sever’s, Hagglunds etc) are related to a degree of anterior compartment weakness, skill deficits or endurance challenges.  Wearing high heels often will often, but not always, increase this risk. 
If you are an athlete, but someone who wears high heels often, you may have to do extra work to keep your anterior compartment competent on several levels.  Eccentric strength is just as important as concentric in this region. Remember, many gait problems come on slowly, a slow simmering smoldering fire. And remember this last point about heeled shoes, your forefoot is always being loaded initially in ankle plantarflexion, this is not normal and in time this will have a cost in many people.  
One last thing. We are not necessarily talking about dress shoes, although they are a greater culprit.  Many running shoes still have accentuated rear foot stack heights where the heel will be many millimeters above the plane of the forefoot.  Do not discount these shoes as a possible contributor of your problem, remember, physiological adaptation takes time to express into a biomechanical symptom creating problem, and it may take quite some time to resolve your compensations and adaptations.
PS: drive that “cross over gait” lady.  Fools.
Shawn and Ivo
the gait guys

Ankle Dorsiflexion: Even in sprinters who land on the forefoot often heel strike, a retrograde strike if you will.

Many people think of heel strike followed by midfoot/tripod contact phase followed by ankle dorsiflexion, aka ankle rocker.  Heel strike is normal in the walking gait cycle. In some runners, depending on foot type, strength, flexibilty and several other factors, heel strike may be considered normal and may be essential for normal injury free mechanics. However, in recent years we tend to see the media and research investigate a midfoot or forefoot strike pattern. If you have been here with us on TGG for a year or 2-3 you will know we are big advocates of a midfoot strike pattern for several reasons which we will not go into again in this article. (Feel free to SEARCH our blog for MIDFOOT strike articles).  

However, one rarely sees anyone or any source talking about the retrograde heel contact when forefoot strike patterns are used.  Here, in this video, you can see several of these top level athletes who are trying to go forward at top end speed, but who are tapping the heel down on many loading responses. This can be thought of as a retrograde movement and could in a biomechanical way of thinking be considered non-productive. In other words, they are trying to move forward and yet the heel is touching down which is a backwards movement. This point can be argued but that is not the point of this article. The point that we are trying to make is that in order to drop the heel down, and especially if the heel touches, that the runner had better have sufficient ankle rocker/dorsifleixon otherwise the arch may be asked to collapse via excessive pronation (to perform the heel tap) which will drive an internal spin movement when the leg is supposed to be externally rotating to a rigid supinated foot for propulsive toe off. This negative scenario is a huge power leak for a sprinter, or any runner for that matter when they are ramping up speed.  

So, why does this happen ?  Well, for some it can help to load the posterior mechanism, the gastrocsoleus-achilles complex for conservation and power conversion.  It also enables more hip extension and thus more gluteal function. Longer stride means more efficient and greater arm swing which is a huge accessory power source for a sprinter. This also lengthens the stride, they feed off of each other. There are many benefits, if you have sufficient ankle rocker range in the ankle to begin with.  In some runners who do not have the requisite ankle rocker range, you may often see the increased foot progression angle and external limb spin and/or the dreaded adductor twist of the heel (aka  abductory twist of the foot).  These are strategies to get more hip extension and more gluteal function without finding it via the ankle dorsiflexion, where you want to see it.  Remember, the body is a brilliant compensatory and substituter. If the body cannot find a range at one joint it will find it at the next proximal or distal joint. And when that loss is at the ankle, motor patterns options dictate you either find it at foot pronation or hip extension.

Maybe, just maybe we should have called this blog article “Can you hold the foot tripod all the way through the stance phase, even through retrograde heel touch down ? If you cannot, trouble could be on the horizon. ”  But that is a really dumb title.  

Shawn and Ivo

the gait guys

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Footprints in the sand. What do they tell us?

They say that sometimes the silences speak volumes. Take a look at these prints and see if you see the following:

  • more pressure on the forefoot, right greater than left
  • more pressure on the lateral aspects of the forefeet
  • an increased progression angle on the right, compared to the left
  • judging from the step length, this person either has really long legs or was running
  • the heel seems to hit the ground slightly more on the right
  • judging from the sole pattern, they are most likely wearing an Inov8 shoe

Or, we can comment on what WAS NOT seen:

  • less pressure on the rearfoot, indicating a forefoot strike, or extremely tight posterior compartments
  • less pressure on the medial aspects of the forefeet, indicating inefficient push off, since they are not able to get their weight to the medial tripod
  • an more normal progression angle on the left, possibly indicating better mechanics there
  • this person IS NOT a heel striker, but seems to have a greater range of dorsiflexion available to them on the right, most likely with more ankle rocker
  • judging from the sole pattern, they are most likely wearing an Inov8 shoe

Just like in the movie “Swordfish”, John Traviolta’s character comments that “It’s all about perception”.

So, what can we surmise from our deductions?

  • less pressure on the rearfoot, indicating a forefoot strike, or extremely tight posterior compartments

this individual may have a loss of ankle rocker

  • less pressure on the medial aspects of the forefeet, indicating inefficient push off, since they are not able to get their weight to the medial tripod

we are probably looking for someone who has a fore foot varus deformity. This is often accompanied by increased tibial varum

  • n more normal progression angle on the left, possibly indicating better mechanics there

the difference in progression angle may indicate this person has a torsional deformity and/or limited internal rotation of the hips

  • this person IS NOT a heel striker, but seems to have a greater range of dorsiflexion available to them on the right, most likely with more ankle rocker

again, look for someone who has impaired ankle rocker, or limited (at least assymetrical) ankle dorsiflexion

Yes, even when we are on vacation, we are looking at gait, because it is everywhere and affects all forms of human life and behavior.

The Gait Guys. Walking in the sand. Looking for the subtle clues. Teaching you in each and every post

Podcast 38: Usain Bolt, Arm Swing, Ballasts, & Running "Stuff"

Our show notes should interest you today. We have another great podcast ready for you !

Link to our server:

 http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/podcast-38-usain-bolt-arm-swing-ballasts-running-stuff

iTunes link:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gait-guys-podcast/id559864138

Gait Guys online /download store (National Shoe Fit Certification and more !) :

http://store.payloadz.com/results/results.aspx?m=80204

other web based Gait Guys lectures:

www.onlinece.com   type in Dr. Waerlop or Dr. Allen,  ”Biomechanics”

Today’s show notes:

2. Running and walking gadget:
Mashable (@mashable)
9/10/13 4:53 AM
This Clip-On Device Lets You Read Your Tablet While You Runon.mash.to/1akqMaK
4. Arm Swing:
- The Ballast Theory 
5. Off the web: Children’s Shoes
6. Off the MEdical Journal:
7.  Clinical Case Questions from a Reader:
Hello there, I’ve been following your stuff for a while now after searching far and wide for solutions to issues I have with my feet/ankles … . .
Chris 
8. Topic: Bartold on heelstrike
9. From the Medical Journal:
Neuroscientist. 2004 Aug;10(4):347-61.
Regulation of arm and leg movement during human locomotion.

Zehr EPDuysens J.

Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory, University of Victoria, BC, Canada. pzehr@uvic.ca

Abstract: Walking can be a very automated process, and it is likely that central pattern generators (CPGs) play a role in the coordination of the limbs. Recent evidence suggests that both the arms and legs are regulated by CPGs and that sensory feedback also regulates the CPG activity and assists in mediating interlimb coordination. Although the strength of coupling between the legs is stronger than that between the arms, arm and leg movements are similarly regulated by CPG activity and sensory feedback (e.g., reflex control) during locomotion

10. Off pubmed: 
J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 2012 Sep-Oct;102(5):390-5.

Anatomical origin of forefoot varus malalignment.

Lufler RSHoagland TMNiu JGross KD.
Forefoot varus malalignment is clinically defined as a nonweightbearing inversion of the metatarsal heads relative to a vertical bisection of the calcaneus in subtalar joint neutral. Although often targeted for treatment with foot orthoses, the etiology of forefoot varus malalignment has been debated and may involve an unalterable bony torsion of the talus. There was no association between forefoot alignment and talar torsion (r = 0.18; 95% confidence interval, -0.11 to 0.44; P = .22).These findings may have implications for the treatment of forefoot varus since they suggest that the source of forefoot varus malalignment may be found in an alterable soft-tissue deformity rather than in an unalterable bony torsion of the talus.

Look at that forward lean and glute development !

There now, maybe we tricked you into finally reading one of our bigfoot / Gigantopithecus blog posts. These blog posts were highly informative yet sadly under viewed compared to our regular posts. We suspect only the true gait geeks found those worth of their time but maybe they were misleadingly superficial to the quick browsing viewer. And that is ok, to each his/her own. But if you want to learn about your own species and problems we have as humans it is always helpful to look at our distant species “relatives” to see where we came from.

In this video you will see this Silver Back walking on 2 limbs, this is quite a rare event to see. In this clip you can see a gorgeous forward lean and the subsequent midfoot strike that occurs when the foot fall occurs with the body mass directly over the foot.  If you look closely you will also see that this gorilla is carrying a log in his left hand, which is one of the theories postulated as to why we evolved to bipedal ambulation, to carry objects over a distance. You should note the increased arm swing in the contralateral hand which is always seen when one arm swing is impaired from carrying things or from injury. This same pendulum alteration occurs in the lower limb when there is an injury and thus a weight bearing alteration, such as ambulating on a sprained ankle.  If you still do not believe us, strap a 5 pound ankle weight to one ankle and note the immediate change in step and stride in both limbs.  In subtle injuries or merely in the presence of pain, the gait cycle is altered a subtle level, and this is where gait compensations often begin.

in the normal walking gait cycle, rear foot strike is normal. But we at The Gait Guys tend to have our clients focus more on heel “contact” as opposed to a true “strike”. The difference is one of how aggressively the foot’s heel interacts with the ground at initial contact. We all have a family member or neighbor that can be heard upstairs sounding like they are pounding nails into the floor when it is really just their normal heel strike.  The best way to help someone to reduce this pounding habit is to increase their forward torso lean and to educate them on heel contact on impact.  The lean must come from the ankles, not from the waist. It is like walking into a heavy wind, you must lean your whole body (we use a queue of “raise your chest a little and lead from the chest” and this often helps stop a collapse into the core and flexion from the waist). And when one does this, the foot cannot progress so far out in front of the body and generate that aggressive heel strike. One is close to midfoot strike at this point when the correction is made properly.  This is similar to Pose running technique but it is just simply good form running technique to hit a nice soft midfoot impact each time.  

We talked more about heel strike in Gigantopithecus last week in this blog post. And, we also mentioned the perpetual knee flexion to dampen the head oscillations.  

Shawn and Ivo, The Gait Guys, and aspiring primatologists apparently.

Too much potential gait pathology all in one sport ? Racewalking … . 
Do not underestimate this title, you may learn more about normal running form from today’s blog post than you think.
 
For the best clips start watching at the 4:15 mark. 
The sport of race walking is an interesting one to say the least.  We had the pleasure for years of treating and working closely with one of our countries best race walkers and she taught me so much, not only about the sport but about the strange mechanics of the sport and the functional pathologies the sport drives from its unique requirements driving abnormal gait mechanics on each step.
Racewalking is a long-distance event requiring one foot to be in contact with the ground at all times (and a couple of other unique and wacky rules that we will discuss in a moment). Stride length is thus reduced and so to achieve competitive speeds racewalkers must attain cadence rates comparable to those achieved by Olympic 800-meter runners for hours at a time. Most people cannot truly appreciate how fast these folks are going, most folks will have to move into at the very least a gentle run to keep up with these folks.
 

There are really only two rules that govern racewalking:

1-The first rules states that the athlete’s trailing foot’s toe cannot leave the ground until the heel of the leading foot has created contact. The rule violation is known as "loss of contact". 

2-The second rule specifies that the supporting leg must straighten, essentially meaning knee extension (and for some, terminal extension, ie. negative 5-10 degrees !) from the point of contact with the ground and remain straightened until the body passes directly over it. Again, essentially meaning full range knee extension for the entire stance phase of gait (early, mid and late midstance phases). For those who do not study the details of gait, this may not seem like a huge issue, but it is because full lockout really never occurs in either walking or running.  And there is nothing like impacting a joint in full extension lock and heavy heel strike to take away all of the natural shock absorbing mechanisms of the lower limb. (watch the video at the 4:30 mark, Dang ! the dude in the red looks like his knees are going to fold backward there is so my knee extension !) There is some great slow motion technique breakdown at the 6:28 minute mark of the video. 

In getting around these 2 major rules:

- the hips must rotate a tremendous amount, with full pelvis rotation, to prevent the frontal plane pelvis motion which would be a loss of sagittal power. This produces the visually painful waddle that is classic to the sport.

- the arms are used aggressively to generate power and to help the lower limbs move through the cycle because of the unnaturally apropulsive nature of the overall technique. The arms also often move excessively into the frontal plane since they mirror the lower limb

- excessive lateral heel strike quite often ensues help keep the knee extended and in an attempt to keep the foot on the ground longer, to avoid getting red carded. 

- there is plenty of cross over gait and severe lack of ankle dorsiflexion for everyone to observe, both of these components combined with the above characteristics give the “Close to the ground” appearance that is attempted by all racewalkers.

- want to see some seriously gut wrenching biomechanics, forward the video to the 7:55 mark. Tell us that won’t cause problems down the road !

Breaking the Rules:

The rules are entirely subjective and enforced by real-time human eye (not video) judges along the course (3 red card violations render an event disqualification). Interestingly, and we have seen this first hand, athletes quite regularly lose contact (meaning initiating a float phase, which is what dictates the difference between running and racewalking) for a few milliseconds per stride.  This float can be detected on film/video which can be caught on film, but such a short flight phase is said to be undetectable to the human eye. Disqualifications (losing contact or bent knee) are routine at the elite level as evidenced by the famous 2000 Summer Olympic case of Jane Saville who was disqualified on her way to a gold medal.

Racewalking … .  a highly technical sport, more so than running.  If you ever get a chance to see someone do this sport first hand, it is truly engaging to a gait geek. Lots of eye candy, gait geek eye candy that is !

Shawn and Ivo… … the gait guys. 

Podcast 34: Chimp feet, Marathon Monks & Statin drugs

podcast link:

http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/podcast-34-chimp-feet-marathon-monks-statin-drugs

iTunes link:

http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/podcast-33-heart-beats-toe-walking-crawling

Gait Guys online /download store:

http://store.payloadz.com/results/results.aspx?m=80204

other web based Gait Guys lectures:

www.onlinece.com   type in Dr. Waerlop or Dr. Allen  Biomechanics

Today’s show notes:

 1.Did Rock Climbing Help Us Start Walking Upright?   By Shaunacy Ferro A new theory suggests humans became bipedal so that we could scramble up rugged terrain.
http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-05/did-rock-climbing-help-us-start-walking-upright?src=SOC&dom=tw


2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaih%C5%8Dgy%C5%8D

The Running Marathon monks of Mt. Hiei

The Kaihōgyō is a set of the ascetic physical endurance trainings for which the Japanese “marathon monks” of Mt. Hiei are known. These Japanese monks are from the Shugendō and the Tendai school of Buddhism, a denomination brought to Japan by the monk Saichō in 806 from China.


3. http://www.runnersworld.com/general-interest/do-you-have-chimpanzee-feet

Do you have Chimpanzee feet ?

About 8% of people tested by Boston University researchers had midfoot flexibility of the sort that apes use to climb trees, according to a study published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropolgy.

4. Statins Linked With Risk of Musculoskeletal Injury

Michael O'Riordan

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/805369?src=wnl_edit_medn_wir&spon=34

http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1691918

Can Statins Cut the Benefits of Exercise?

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/22/can-statins-curb-the-benefits-of-exercise/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23583255

5. Shoes: The Primal Professional.com

http://theprimalprofessional.com/products/pre-order-the-primal-professional

http://well.bradrourke.com/2013/05/my-new-primal-dress-shoes/

6. Hallux valgus and lesser toe deformities are highly heritable in adult men and women: The Framingham foot study

Marian T. Hannan
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/acr.22040/abstract;jsessionid=99975015C3EE5678E6351273C2CD42A0.d02t04

7. Forefoot strikers exhibit lower running-induced knee loading than rearfoot strikers

Kulmala, Juha-Pekka; Avela, Janne; Pasanen, Kati; Parkkari, Jari

http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Abstract/publishahead/Forefoot_strikers_exhibit_lower_running_induced.98324.aspx

8. Why Where You Land On Your Foot Isn’t That Important

http://www.kinetic-revolution.com/why-where-you-land-on-your-foot-isnt-that-important/

A visual demonstration of 3 different foot strike patterns. Lets test some of what you have learned here at The Gait Guys over the last few months. 
  On the readers left, blue shirt Bib 232:   The left leg appears to have all joints stacked at this viewer angle (knee is vertically over the foot, hip is over the knee). What we love here is that the foot profile (look at the black sole of the shoe) is parallel to the ground, it is hard to believe that it won’t strike as such. The medial and lateral aspects of the foot should strike flush and simultaneously. This is a neutral foot and is very likely without valgus or varus forefoot typing.  The tibia looks pristine and straight without any torsion, at least from this limited perspective. He also looks to be striding nicely, it seems to appear (albeit this is reaching from this head on view) that the foot will strike below the body mass, this may be because he subtly appears to be leaning forward, again hard to see on this view. 
  Middle runner, white shirt:   We see some problems here.  First of all, it appears (and again, this is reaching from a front on view) that this runner is striding out with the foot beyond the body mass and will likely heel strike, he also seems to be in more backward lean that the Blue Bib Man but again hard to tell on a frontal view. We also see that the foot is pitched in inversion (note the outward tip of his foot compared to the man in Blue) quite aggressively which will facilitate a strong excessive lateral heel and/or forefoot strike pattern.  You can also see that drawing a line through the length of the long bones (tibia and femur) that they are in alignment, they are even in alignment with the 90 degree perpendicular to the forefoot inverted angulation.  This clearly represents our classic “cross over gait” which was first brought to you and the internet by yours truly a few years ago (here on  Youtube link ).  It is easy to see that the projected foot landing will be on a virtual line and thus appear to run on a line or even cross the feet over the line indicating that this client is not stacking the foot, knee and hips vertically and thus challenging the gluteus medius and hip stability into the frontal plane ( video link here ). This client will be wasting energy and efficiency in the frontal plane (side to side movement) and challenging the core, risking knee tracking issues and excessive foot pronation forces beyond the safe and normal.   
  Running on the readers right, green shirt #8:   There appears to be a strong stance phase leg collapse, the hip is lateral to the foot and the knee is perhaps on its way to medial from a vertical line from the foot. This can be, and often is, from the issues of cross over described in the middle runner above but it can also be simply found in someone who is striking with the foot/knee/hip joints stacked but does not have sufficient gluteus medius strength to keep the pelvis level on the horizon (thus drift laterally). When this happens the downward collapse of the opposite side pelvis is often, but not always, see as a valgus collapse at the knee since the femur is allowed to drift medially from insufficient strength, skill or endurance pairing of the gluteus medius/maximus pairing and the medial quadriceps. This client is  likely a cross over victim as well and this would give good reason to the aforementioned.  Again, this is all theoretical from a static picture but knowing these patterns like we do, we know these typical patterns of breakdown. This is also suspect because of the foot more positioned under the midline of the body instead of under the knee and hip vertically stacked and the obvious proximity of the knees to one another.  These clients often kick or brush the foot or shoe against the stance phase lower leg as they swing the foot through.  
 Who is going to win this race ? One cannot tell. But if they were the same on all levels of endurance, training, VO2 max and equal on every parameter except what was mentioned above, well then our man in Blue, # 232 would be the most efficient and likely the least injured. 
 Photo from an Outside Magazine article. We Would reference it, and would be happy to do so, but we cannot find the net article anywhere now. Please send it our way if you happen across it ! 
 Shawn and Ivo, The Gait Guys … .  followed in 51 countries and counting.

A visual demonstration of 3 different foot strike patterns. Lets test some of what you have learned here at The Gait Guys over the last few months.

On the readers left, blue shirt Bib 232:
 The left leg appears to have all joints stacked at this viewer angle (knee is vertically over the foot, hip is over the knee). What we love here is that the foot profile (look at the black sole of the shoe) is parallel to the ground, it is hard to believe that it won’t strike as such. The medial and lateral aspects of the foot should strike flush and simultaneously. This is a neutral foot and is very likely without valgus or varus forefoot typing.  The tibia looks pristine and straight without any torsion, at least from this limited perspective. He also looks to be striding nicely, it seems to appear (albeit this is reaching from this head on view) that the foot will strike below the body mass, this may be because he subtly appears to be leaning forward, again hard to see on this view.

Middle runner, white shirt:  We see some problems here.  First of all, it appears (and again, this is reaching from a front on view) that this runner is striding out with the foot beyond the body mass and will likely heel strike, he also seems to be in more backward lean that the Blue Bib Man but again hard to tell on a frontal view. We also see that the foot is pitched in inversion (note the outward tip of his foot compared to the man in Blue) quite aggressively which will facilitate a strong excessive lateral heel and/or forefoot strike pattern.  You can also see that drawing a line through the length of the long bones (tibia and femur) that they are in alignment, they are even in alignment with the 90 degree perpendicular to the forefoot inverted angulation.  This clearly represents our classic “cross over gait” which was first brought to you and the internet by yours truly a few years ago (here on Youtube link).  It is easy to see that the projected foot landing will be on a virtual line and thus appear to run on a line or even cross the feet over the line indicating that this client is not stacking the foot, knee and hips vertically and thus challenging the gluteus medius and hip stability into the frontal plane (video link here). This client will be wasting energy and efficiency in the frontal plane (side to side movement) and challenging the core, risking knee tracking issues and excessive foot pronation forces beyond the safe and normal.  

Running on the readers right, green shirt #8:  There appears to be a strong stance phase leg collapse, the hip is lateral to the foot and the knee is perhaps on its way to medial from a vertical line from the foot. This can be, and often is, from the issues of cross over described in the middle runner above but it can also be simply found in someone who is striking with the foot/knee/hip joints stacked but does not have sufficient gluteus medius strength to keep the pelvis level on the horizon (thus drift laterally). When this happens the downward collapse of the opposite side pelvis is often, but not always, see as a valgus collapse at the knee since the femur is allowed to drift medially from insufficient strength, skill or endurance pairing of the gluteus medius/maximus pairing and the medial quadriceps. This client is  likely a cross over victim as well and this would give good reason to the aforementioned.  Again, this is all theoretical from a static picture but knowing these patterns like we do, we know these typical patterns of breakdown. This is also suspect because of the foot more positioned under the midline of the body instead of under the knee and hip vertically stacked and the obvious proximity of the knees to one another.  These clients often kick or brush the foot or shoe against the stance phase lower leg as they swing the foot through. 

Who is going to win this race ? One cannot tell. But if they were the same on all levels of endurance, training, VO2 max and equal on every parameter except what was mentioned above, well then our man in Blue, # 232 would be the most efficient and likely the least injured.

Photo from an Outside Magazine article. We Would reference it, and would be happy to do so, but we cannot find the net article anywhere now. Please send it our way if you happen across it !

Shawn and Ivo, The Gait Guys … .  followed in 51 countries and counting.

Gait Guys, What is the truth when it comes time to buying/rotating new shoes ?

A few moons ago an awesome Facebook reader asked us about changing shoes and the validity of the “press test”.  Here was Eve’s link to the press test and here is what it said:
 Do the Press Test

“To determine if the midsoles of your shoes are compressed and are no longer providing cushioning, do the press test. Using your thumb, push on the outsole upward into the midsole. With new shoes, it should be easy to see the midsole compress into lines or wrinkles. As the shoe wears down, the midsole compresses less with the same amount of pressure. When the midsole shows heavy compression lines and the press test reveals a minimal amount of compression, there is little or no cushioning left.”

There is a valid point to this test, but it might be considered too rudimentary by many purists.  But most purists rarely can offer us a better solution.  Here is the issue, EVA foam has a lifespan in terms of maintaining its initial shock absorption. EVA foam cells compress and deform over time, most foam in this world does whether it is your Tempurpedic mattress, the foam base for your rugs or your car seat. And with areas of greater wear and compression the foam accelerates its deformation. This is why certain areas of your car seats, your rugs and your bed get softer.  The same thing goes with your shoes. But they really do not get softer, the areas get compressed and the foam changes its density and its integrity. It no longer performs.  Resistance, compressibility and resilience changes.  This is the problem with shoe foam as well, no matter what foam a company is using.  However, the bigger problem if you really think about it is that the foot type you have and the biomechanics (good or bad) that you drive your foam into will be the direction future foot loadings deviate into.  Can this be good ? Rarely. Can this be bad ? Usually.  EVA simply has a given number of cycles, and that number is variable with many factors in place such as weight, running form, foot strike, foot type, weathering of the foam, wet foam, dry foam, outer sole glue, foot bed components and attachment, number of miles.  So, degrading shoe foam is a fact of life for a walker or runner. 
The “press test” gives the user some idea of how much the foam is compressed and how much resilience it has left. But it is a test limited very much by the subjective assessment.  We wouldn’t hold a torch to the test and make it a solitary assessment factor, in fact we rarely do it ourselves. But every little test and assessment has some perks and information that can be gleaned from it.
For the record, we like to play it cautious because injuries cost money and time to a runner. So we error on the side of caution always and go for lower numbers for the life span of shoes.  Each shoe is different and we will  not leave you with actual numbers here because the algorithm gets a bit large and convoluted but the bottom line is that cheaper shoes usually use cheaper materials and more expensive shoes usually use better materials (yes, this does not always line up as truth, we know this).  But shoes like Newtons and Altras from our experience seem to survive the trials of running a bit better (at least in our athletes) and so we allow more miles in them.  But for those looking for some harder numbers here are our loose rules:
400-500 miles per pair of shoes.  At 200 miles begin a second pair of shoes and start alternating the shoes every run (old shoe one day, next day use the new shoe).  This will reduce the successive days in a shoe in which the foam is driving deeper and deeper into deformity and thus you are only a day away from a reprieve from the deforming shoe. This will reduce injury risk.  This will also give you a dry shoe on a run the day after a shoe got soaked or caked with mud.  Water and mud add shoe weight and change biomechanics. Once the older shoe his the end lifespan mark you have the second shoe at 200-250 and you are ready for a new shoe. So you are never in a shoe until its death, when it is completely deformed and driving pathomechanics and possible injury only to the very next day step into a new shoe with entirely different (albeit neutral and unbiased) mechanics in the foam.  Injuries occur much of the time with change. Be smarter with your shoe rotation and reduce change.
VITAL NOTE:
Running and walking use different biomechanics and loading styles. Walking has heel strike as a norm, running for the most part shouldn’t include heavy or any heel strike depending on the athlete and who’s “pulpit of running form” that athlete chooses to pray at the foot of. Like religion, there is no one right way …  we each need to find what is best for us. And thus, since running and walking biomechanics are so different you should keep your running shoes for running and have another pair for walking and your other workouts.  Remember though, running shoes are build mostly for sagittal (forward) movement and not for lateral sports. This is why you should never, never ever, use your running shoes for tennis, racquet ball, basketball or many forms of cross fit.  Get a court shoe that is build for lateral movement. Not only will the shoe last longer but it is built on a platform that is more suited for such activity.

Shawn and Ivo

The Gait Guys…….